Emiratisation boosts number of citizens in private sector by 13,000 in six months

Small companies that missed January 1 Emiratisation deadline face fines of Dh96,000

An all-time high of 92,000 Emiratis now work in the private sector, government figures show. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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More than 90,000 UAE citizens are now working in the private sector – an increase of 13,000 in the past six months – amid the country's Emiratisation drive.

The latest figures were released on Thursday, with the deadline having passed for companies with between 20 and 49 employees to hire at least one Emirati or face a fine of up to Dh96,000 ($26,140).

An all-time high of 92,000 Emiratis now work in the private sector, figures show.

It marks a 157 per cent increase since the Nafis programme was launched in September 2021, state news agency Wam reported.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation praised the commitment of more than 19,000 companies that have employed Emiratis.

Under the initiative, smaller companies in the country must have two Emirati employees by January 1, 2025, or face fines of Dh108,000.

For larger businesses with 50 or more employees, at least 6 per cent of their workforce should comprise UAE citizens by the end of 2024. The target will increase to 10 per cent by the end of 2026.

Those that fail to meet the targets will be fined Dh84,000, up from Dh72,000 in 2023.

The fines will increase each year and strict penalties are in place for companies that try to evade Emiratisation targets. These include fines of up to Dh500,000 for serious breaches, including reducing the number of employees or altering job titles.

In 2022, about 9,293 companies met the target of employing Emiratis in 2 per cent of skilled roles, according to ministry figures.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 3:50 AM